I have no style!

February 2, 20153 Comments

The title of this post doesn’t comes as a shock to anyone who knows me, especially when it comes to fashion. It’s obvious I’m stuck in a rut and couldn’t be less current on hip clothing if I tried.

But in this case I’m referring more specifically to my lack of style when it comes to “designing” furniture. Even more definitively, my nearly complete lack of following an established design style all together.

For the past week I feel as if I’ve discussed more about furniture design than I have in the last few years, and I’m not saying this isn’t a good thing, I’m just kind of shocked at how much it’s been front and center in my world recently.

To be entirely honest, I’ve never really given it much of a thought before, because without a doubt I don’t have a particular design style that I’m drawn towards and attempt to emulate. Well that’s not entirely true, I tend to lean towards shaker, but by lean I mean sway in the wind a little.

Up until now, most of my design ideas have been as a result of the whim of the “client,” or more frequently in the Vanderlist household, driven by function versus form. Of course as soon as I typed those words I realized that IS my style! If I had to give it a name I guess it would have to be “Functionalist?”There, now that I’ve said it, and now that I’ve named it I feel better!


Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I feel a need to lump myself in a group or give myself a title, but instead it’s just nice to not have to struggle to think of an established style of furniture that my projects come close to resembling.

Up until now, whenever I tried to describe what I was inspired by, or tried to incorporate elements of into the build, I’d no sooner say it and then it would be obvious by the look on people’s faces they were thinking “…has he ever seen anything from that style of furniture? Because that looks nothing like it!”

So here’s to the “Functionalist” furniture builders of the world! Those who put function before form. Who aren’t constrained by a specific edge profile or charateristic wood species. To those who don’t ask if it’s okay to mix solids with sheet goods, or whether you can substitute non-traditional joinery for construction.

To you my “Functionalist” friends I tip my Woobie and say let nothing constrain you from building your projects, damn be to the established styles that paralyze our fellow woodworkers with over analysis.

For us, filling the need with functional projects trumps style everytime! Except of course if our spouses hate them so much that they get sold in a garage sale on a table marked “FREEBIES…PLEASE TAKE!” in that case we might get a second opinion before we start building, because that just hurts to watch our hard work being carted away with our old acid-wash jeans and concert t-shirts.

What about you? What would you call your own unique style of design if you had to name it?

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  1. Bob DV says:

    Functionalist eh? I like that. I always said I was eclectic but that got misunderstood for something else (I think). It’s like art, I know what I like when I see it. Some things I may like but don’t have the talent to pull off so I stick with the ones I can do…for now. If that makes me a Functionalist I embrace it. In fact I hope to become a higher functioning Functionalist! One that can make a bombe box AND pick his socks up off the floor!

    Lead us on Matt.

  2. Geoff says:

    Adaptable best describes it. I doubt that I’ll ever build a complete Arts and Crafts or Greene and Greene piece, but I like bits of the style and will blend the bits I like into the furniture I build. As long as the missus or my clients are happy then I’m comfortable with being adaptable.

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